NEWS October 21st, 2011

By Karolyn Coorsh

Mystery around Humber Cinema closure

Site was at one time slated for a condo development

The house lights have dimmed yet again at the Humber Cinema.
But it’s unclear if the movie theatre at Bloor and Jane Streets is facing a temporary setback, or has been shuttered for good.

A sign on the door of the Humber on Oct. 17 indicated the theatre, which had re-opened last April after sitting idle since 2003, had closed temporarily for renovations.

But Dianne Bradley, newly installed chair of the Bloor West Village Residents Association said when she passed by the theatre back in September, a sign in the window indicated it had been closed due to unpaid rent.

An administrator at Ward 13 councillor Sarah Doucette’s office said in late October the rep had heard little about any new developments regarding the Humber Cinema.

“There’s an issue with heating or air conditioning, that’s all we’re aware of at this point,” she said.

Humber operator Rui Pereira, who in 2009 successfully brought the Kingsway theatre back to life and was attempting to find cinematic success a second time with the rebirth of the Humber, declined to comment on the matter.

“I have nothing to say about it,” he said when reached by the phone at the Kingsway on Oct. 17.

In the fall of 2010, Pereira spoke to the Town Crier about the heady task of revitalizing the 62-year-old theatre, which had been sitting empty and in disrepair after years of neglect.

Long before Pereira was in the picture, there had been plans in the works to build a 10-storey condominium on the site. Though council had approved a rezoning application from the property’s owner, Claude Bitton, there was still no movement on the site.

With redevelopment plans seemingly abandoned, Pereira set to work revamping the theatre.

The details of the space agreement reached between Pereira and Bitton are unknown. In late 2010, Pereira declined to provide details on the nature of the agreement, but said he and Bitton were set to enter into a leasing arrangement.

Bitton was unavailable for comment. A real estate agent who indicated he’s a friend of Bitton’s said the Toronto-based businessman is out of town on vacation until the end of October.